Marcel and Hung to Hang Together Next WeekThe two most unpopular members of the cast of the second and third seasons of Top Chef, Hung Huynh and Marcel Vigneron, are actually friends, and you can meet them both next week.
Dovetail’s Food Editor–Hostess Tells Her Tale; Dessert Truck vs. TreatsThe Food & Wine editor–cum–hostess at Dovetail had a hard time learning the ropes of the job at first, but by the end she learned that star ratings from critics matter, and there’s more to being a hostess than checking coats. [TONY]
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed a suit against Tonic East for “a pattern or practice of denying African-Americans from admittance into its club.” [Down by the Hipster]
Unbeknownst to us, rapper Coolio has a cooking show on the Web called, succinctly, Cookin’ With Coolio, but he might not be the most adventurous kitchen personality we’ve ever seen: “I don’t like pork, I don’t eat pork, and I don’t cook pork.” [Serious Eats]
In Other Magazines
Food Writers Dwell Happily in the Past This MonthThe best stories in this month’s crop of food mags are old. Saveur, which leads the year off with the Saveur 100, runs highlights from the WPA’s unpublished 1937 opus, America Eats, a documentary record of American foodways that is only now seeing the light of day; the images excerpted here are evocative and beautiful and make us eager to see the America Eats book to be published (finally) later this year. Gourmet is devoted to southern cooking, with a wonderful, previously unpublished “What Is Southern?” leadoff essay by the late Edna Lewis, formerly of Café Nicholson. Bon Appétit goes with a “Green Issue” with a long piece by Blue Hill’s Dan Barber on vegetables, an ecofriendly meat guide by sausage guru Bruce Aidells, and a moving essay on a vegetarian who returns to the meat wagon because of sausages. Food & Wine is something of a bore, consisting mostly of lists of “Tastes to Try in 2008,” most of which were short on detail and long on obviousness. (Fiamma has a new chef!) Finally, Food Arts, which won’t come out till later this week, has a major service feature on beef, along with an essay by French Culinary Institute techno whiz Dave Arnold on hydrocolloids, a class of gelatins big in molecular-gastronomy circles.
In Other Magazines
The Literary Yule Log Burns Away
The food magazines are all in full-tilt holiday mode this month, but there’s some interesting stuff in there in spite of all the boilerplate. Saveur leads out with a massive roasting package, but the mag also includes an equally useful (if not equally pornographic) service feature on Champagne. There’s also a nice personal essay by Dana Bowen about electric slicers as a totem of holiday feats past. Food & Wine is a big old mess of Yuletide content, but the issue includes their Best Restaurant Dishes of 2007, and the sole New York representative is, you guessed it, the Bo Ssäm. (Sigh.) There’s also the excellent profile of Tailor’s Eben Freemen mentioned here recently and everything you want to know about what chefs are doing in New Orleans and Lake Tahoe. (Which in our case would be nothing.) Gourmet is all recipes and entertaining, as dull as paint, with, amazingly, an article about Padma Lakshmi’s chutneys with no image of the lady herself. (An article on the raising of Kobe cattle, though, fascinated us.) Finally, Food Arts brings their year-end trend piece, on the strange confluence of health consciousness and conspicuous consumption, as well as a piece by Pichet Ong on the rise of the celebrity pastry chef. Not a bad month in all.
Back of the House
Tailor’s Eben Freeman Masters the Hard Shake
This month’s Food & Wine brings a pretty illuminating profile of Eben Freemen, the resident cocktail genius at Tailor (and the one man who has come through the review process completely unscathed). Freeman talks about his current creations, such as smoked Coke and brown butter rum, not to mention some of his more outré plans, such as alcoholic breath strips and a Coppertone-flavored cocktail (“That would be the ultimate summer drink.”)
In Other Magazines
Escaping the Obligatory Turkey FeatureIt’s November in the food-magazine business, so expect feature after endless feature about Thanksgiving, and every imaginable variation on recipes for turkey and stuffing. Gourmet gives a pretty complete account, including big Turkey Day features on the fancy version, the Asian version, the Italian version, and even the vegetarian version. Bon Appétit is about the same, taking the big-name approach: Bruce Aidells on turkey, and Michael Lamonaco on potatoes, among others. A profile of Aidells and his meat-minded kitchen is in November’s Food & Wine, as well as such year-round delights as domestic cheeses and a new brand of whiskey out of Oregon. Saveur, thankfully, limits itself to a nice article about a West Virginia farm, and then dips in on such disparate topics as kale, heritage chickens, prosciutto from Iowa, and other Saveur-like topics. We’re grateful for the respite; Thanksgiving is early this year but not that early.
Back of the House
Yet More Kudos for David Chang! (Shoot Us Now.)Is the David Chang superstar era over yet? If not, can you wake us when it is? We just opened the October Gourmet, and there’s a multipage lovefest to the Momofuku Man, complete with the usual musings on pork (“a mystical, magical animal,” he calls it, echoing Homer Simpson) and the usual close-ups of him eating. Coming on the heels of Bon Appétit’s even more ridiculous Chef of the Year award, we think the time may have come to say what everyone we know is already thinking: that Chang, earnest and talented as he is, has turned into the Sanjaya of Soup and needs to be reassessed.
In Other Magazines
‘Gourmet’ Hits El Alto; ‘Bon Appétit’ Hails ChangAs we near the end of the month, it’s time to look at the latest batch of food magazines. Gourmet‘s entire October issue is devoted to Latin American cooking and has two big features that New Yorkers will want to check out: a profile of “El Alto,” the Dominican enclave in upper Manhattan, with a focus on the area’s restaurants, and a mouthwatering survey of taco trucks around the USA.
A Voce’s Alfresco Slurpees Come to FlatironBrooklyn Heights: Mike’s Knife Sharpener, operating out of a truck, is back, spotted on Willow Street. [Brooklyn Heights Blog]
Dumbo: South Beach Wine & Food Festival may be re-created in this hood by next year, with help from the Food Network and Food & Wine. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: Gnocco’s fine Roman-style pizza will now be available by the slice from noon to 4 p.m. [Grub Street] And the Italian restaurant Gemma, coming to the Bowery Hotel, looks to be on its way to an opening. [Down by the Hipster] Le Souk loses its liquor license, albeit temporarily. [Eater]
Financial District: Gold St. debuts a menu of original cocktails including herbaceous recipes like a Lavender Martini and the Rosemary Cream. [Grub Street]
Flatiron: A Voce to debut its new alfresco section, where you can repose in the sun and drink alcoholic Italian slurpees, among other things. [The Strong Buzz]
Fort Greene: A new batch of local Devil’s Doodad organic hot sauce is now available at the farmer’s market. [Clinton Hill Blog]
Harlem: Citarella’s 125th Street branch now accepting food stamps. [NYM] Tickets now available for A Taste of Harlem held at City College’s Great Hall on Wednesday, May 16. [Uptown Flavor]
Park Slope: Unnamed market selling $22 chickens. [Dope on the Slope]
Soho: To celebrate the arrival of new chef Wen Chen, Lucky Strike is offering a bizarre lottery that incorporates a Champagne bucket filled with table numbers, praying, and free meals for your entire party. [Gawker] Lure Fishbar will open for lunch and brunch starting Mother’s Day weekend. [Grub Street]
‘Food & Wine’ Parties Rock; Yuppies Heart Joe Jr.’sThe Food & Wine Best New Chef parties were pretty good — especially the after-party at the Spotted Pig. We wonder who that unnamed chef doing shots all night could possibly be. Are his initials M.B.? [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Joe Jr.’s coffee shop is becoming a cult favorite among well-heeled Manhattanites – one even rented it out for a party and put up a disco ball. [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Top Chef runner-up Sam Talbot to open an already trendy eatery on the Lower East Side, but his liquor-license papers seem not to be in order yet. [Eater]
Back of the House
‘Top Chef’ Exclusive: A Chef’s ChefAt this point, we have no idea whether Ilan Hall will take the Top Chef title tonight — after a profile of him as winner leaked on Food & Wine’s Website, the magazine revealed that they also profiled Marcel as champ. But there’s one thing we do know, and it’s exclusive: Ilan’s “underground favorite” restaurant. In an interview a few weeks back, Hall recommended Chez Le Chef, speaking highly of Chef Frédéric Piepenburg, himself a minor celebrity. “It’s really tasty, old-world Austrian and French food,” said Hall. “You can order breakfast in bed, and he’ll deliver the whole meal in a basket, picnic-style. Just give him 24 hours in advance. He bakes all his breads, he makes all his desserts. He’s this crazy old baker that has this gigantic moustache that sort of connects to his hair. I think the restaurant is also his apartment. There’s no one like him.” — Jada Yuan
Back of the House
‘Top Chef’ Winner Revealed — For Real!As you no doubt remember, Ilan Hall quit his post at Casa Mono last week, fueling speculation that he’d taken top prize in Top Chef. Now we have an apparent confirmation: Eater LA has the text of an article that went up on Food & Wine’s Website for about fifteen minutes yesterday. The teaser? “How did Ilan Hall, the 24-year-old with the Tintin ‘do, beat out fourteen other contestants to become Top Chef on the Bravo reality show? And what’s he planning to do with the $100,000 he won?” Oops. Something tells us Food & Wine won’t have such an easy time getting the inside scoop next time.
Top Chef Spoiled Again [Eater L.A.]
‘Top Chef’ Wannabes, Now Is Your Chance — to Get Baked With Padma Lakshmi [Grub Street]
Sam Talbot (Formerly) of ‘Top Chef’ Splurges at Nobu [Grub Street]
Red Cat Owner Betting on Ilan to Win ‘Top Chef’ [Grub Street]
So Hot She’s Flammable: Host roasted by top chefs. [NYM]
‘Top Chef’’s Marcel Doesn’t Love Joël Robuchon That Much [Daily Intel]
In the Magazine
New ‘Times’ Dining Editor Talked Smack About Frank BruniPete Wells, the New York Times dining editor–elect, was supremely cautious when he spoke to us a couple of weeks ago about the staff he will soon take charge of. But he was considerably less guarded in March, when, in his Food & Wine column, he had a few choice words for the Sultan of Bruni. Read more here.